Lecture by Russian Writer Ms. Vasilenko Held in School of International Studies


On the morning of 24th November, 2016, Room 310 of Building East 6 at Zijingang Campus witnessed a lecture by Ms.Svetlana Vladimirovna Vasilenko (ВасиленкоСветланаВладимировна), First Secretary of the Executive Board of Union of Russian Writers, a famous Russian writer and well-known social activist,on “The Neorealism in Post-Soviet Russian Literature”. The lecture was hosted by Ms. Zhou Lu from  Institute of Russian Language & Culture.

Before the lecture, Ms. Zhou Lu introduced Ms. Vasilenko’s major writing experience and the international honors she has achieved. Ms. Vasilenko is not only a prestigious writer in Russia and the world but also a famous social activist. She has been the First Secretary of the Executive Board of Union of Russian Writerssince 1996 and is the chief editor of Steam Engine,the journal of Union of Russian Writers, and of Ice and Fire, aliterature periodical. She is also a member of PEN International, and of the Association of Russian Film Directors. She is the leader of “New Female Riders”, the Russian female writers’society at the beginning of the 21stcentury,a member of editors in chief of a series of female novel collections in Russia and a member of the Russian Association of News. Ms. Vasilenko has chaired the OrganizingCommittee of International Voloshinsky Prize since 2007, the Awards Committee of Chekhov and Tyutchev Competition and the Judging Panel of the “Golden Tiger” Ecological Literature Competition since 2013.Besides, she was the leader of a Russian female writers’society called “New Female Riders” in the early 1990s and a member of editors in chief of a series of Russian female novel collections such as The Forgotten Sin, New Female Riders, Splashing Champagne and Thirteen Love Stories. The international awards and honors she has received are: “The Best European Novel of the Year” with A Loud Namein Prague in 1991, “Sergei Eisenstein Best Screenplay Award” in Germany in 1994, “Best Novel Prize”ofNew WorldsMagazine with Little Fool in 1998, “Vladimir Nabokov Award” in 1999, and “Gorky Prize” in 2006. Her short story Caltropwas nominated for “Yuri Kazakov Prize” in 2007 and the Polish translation of her novel Little Fool was nominated for the “Andrews China-Europe International Prize for Literature”in 2008. Her anthology, Vertical Prose, was awarded the “Best Poem Prize” by Berlin Academy in 2014.


At the beginning of the lecture, Ms. Vasilenko introduced the literature during Post-Soviet period, especially the realism, based on her own experience and the perspective of an organizer. She mentioned that postmodernism was the most important thought in the second half of the twentieth century. The twentieth century could be divided into three periods, namely, at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s, at the turn ofthe 1970s and 1980s, and at the turn ofthe 1980s and 1990s. In the 1990s, some young writers established neorealism based on their resistance to postmodernism. Postmodernism champions that the text is above all else, and the author is dead. On the contrary, neorealism argues that life itself is above all, and the author is still alive. Whether a work is creative or not depends on the writer's moral stance. Ms.Vasilenko believes that the role played by Russian writers in the history of about 200 years has exceeded their mission as writers. Therefore, we must value the role of neo-realism in Russia.

When it comes to neorealist writers, Ms.Vasilenko thinks that it can be divided into two batches. The first batch appeared at the end of 20th century, with the representatives being Варламов and Pavlov who advocated that the work should reflect the real life of Russia. Atthe beginning of 21st century, the second batch of neorealist writers appeared. They wereboth creators of literature and politicians as they showed life not only through works, also triedto influence life by works. While introducing Russian neorealist writers, Ms.Vasilenko mentioned that she herself was also a member of a neorealist writer and was the only female member. She also mentioned that she had experienced the Cuban crisis of 1962. Although she was then only six years old, she could clearly remember herself being sent to the grassland before the crisis. Facing the dark grassland, she was terrified of death for the first time, and suddenly realized that she had deep love for life and her parents. At dawn next day,she knew that the war would not happen. What a miracle! Ms.Vasilenko said the fear of death and the joy followed was always important to her life, so she wanted to write them down. Her novel Little Fool, based on such a personal experience, became her magnum opus.

In the Q&A session, Ms.Vasilenko answered questions raised by students. In the end, she showed a self-directed documentary Place, about a nuclear-weapon-based town of former Soviet Union, which tells a story of the development and transition of the military town through the perspective of a boy.

The lecture ended up with thunderous applause. It was an unforgettable morning when all the students were bathed in both warm sunshine and passion for Russian literature

Written by Zhou Lu

Institute of Russian Language & Culture

29th November, 2016

Contact Us

Address:No. 866, Yuhangtang Road, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, P.R. China

Postal Code:310058

Telephone:+86-571-8820-6044 +8